Frontier Soup Review

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I received complimentary Frontier Soup Homemade in Minutes products as part of my participation as a Moms Meet blogger.

Frontier Soup Homemade in Minutes are dry soup mixes. The ingredients in Frontier Soup FrontierLogo583blkwithtagHomemade in Minutes mixes are all natural. There is no added salt, preservatives, or MSG. Seriously, the ingredients list on the packages are simple and include recognizable food and spices!

There are recipes on each soup package that include what to add to make the soup. You’ll always add your own broth. The kind of broth and additional ingredients depend on the soup, of course. For example, cream, tomato paste, and brown sugar are added along with broth to the creamy Mississippi Delta Tomato Basil Soup. For West Coast Kale and Quinoa, a can of diced tomatoes and cubed butternut squash (fresh or frozen) is added to the soup mix and broth. Variations on the suggested recipes are also included on the package.

These soup mixes are fantastic! Overall, my family’s favorites were the Little Schoolhouse Alphabet Soup and the Connecticut Cottage Chicken Noodle Soup Mix. (I loved all the soups I tried, but these two had nothing that offended picky eaters.) Chicken breast is added to both these mixes. We used rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. The soup was easy to prepare, and it was definitely tasty. It’s a hearty soup.

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Soup can certainly be made from scratch, but Frontier Soup mixes make it so quick and easy to have homemade soup. Many of the soups are ready in under thirty minutes! I was surprised at how flavorful the soups are in less than half an hour and not hours of simmering.

The mixes are available at Whole Foods, The Fresh Market, Kroger Natural Stores, Central Market in Texas, Great Harvest Bread Stores, Omaha Steaks, Braum’s Fresh Markets and 1500 other independent and specialty stores across the country, and in Canada at Sobey’s and Whole Foods. Products are also available online at Frontier Soups, Abe’s Market and Amazon.

Many of the mixes run $6-7 each. Plus, you have to consider that you have to add additional ingredients. The price for the mix seems kind of pricey. You pay for the quality and convenience of the mix. But, this price is comparable to other mixes I have seen in specialty stores and in fundraising catalogs, especially given the quality ingredients used by Frontier Soups. Price per unit also goes down when you buy multipacks, which are available online. Plus, the mixes make a lot of soup. It’s more than you get in a can, and cans run $1-3. I also found that the soups freeze well.

Find Frontier Soups on Twitter and Facebook.

I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms MeetSM program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms MeetsSM blogger, I agreed to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of the product.

Sweet Leaf Natural Stevia Sweetener Review

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I recently had the opportunity to try SweetLeaf Organic Stevia® Sweetener products for review.

SweetLeaf Organic Stevia® Sweetener is a zero-calorie alternative to other sweeteners (I’m sweetleaf-organic-stevia-sweetenerlooking at you sugar). It is Certified Organic and made from stevia leaves. It is gluten free and contains no artificial ingredients.

Stevia is sweeter than sugar, so the taste can be overpowering if you use too much. One packet of SweetLeaf Organic Stevia Sweetener has the sweetness of two teaspoons of sugar.

SweetLeaf Organic Stevia Sweetener can be used to sweeten….lots of things! Hot and cold drinks, cereals, baked goods, fruit, desserts, and more.

SweetLeaf Organic Stevia Sweetener has a smaller grain than sugar. It’s powdery and mixes well into drinks.

It’s great for satisfying a sweet tooth. I like this recipe for a baked apple, which was adapted from Just a Pinch! Recipes:

Quick Baked Apple

1 medium apple

1 packet of SweetLeaf Organic Stevia Sweetener

1-2 Tablespoons of Cinnamon (or to taste)

Cut the apple into 8-12 slices, removing the core and seeds. Place in bowl. Sprinkle with stevia. Stir in cinnamon until apples are covered. (Or place it all in a container with a lid, so you can shake it all together!) Place on a microwave-safe dish and into the microwave for 2-3 minutes.

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The packets are available in 35 count or 70 count packets, and suggest retail is $4.99-$8.99.

I also received SweetLeaf Sweet Drops™ Sweetner. I received “Peppermint Mocha” and “Pumpkin Spice” flavors. Wouldn’t those be wonderful for fall! A couple of drops of the Pumpkin Spice sweeten morning oatmeal (I also like to add raisins).

I also received a water pack with “Berry,” “Lemon Drop,” and “Valencia Orange” flavors. I tried to add a few drops of this to plain water, and I wasn’t fond of the result. I prefer these to add some sweetness and flavor to iced tea.

Overall, I am pleased with SweetLeaf Organic Stevia Sweetener. The taste is different from sugar, but there is not an aftertaste. The packets and the drops are both convenient and easy to use.

You can connect with online at SweetLeaf.com and on Facebook to find more information, tons of recipes, and conversion charts.

I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms MeetSM program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms MeetSM blogger, I agree to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of this product.

Element: Daily Yoga Review

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I received a complimentary copy of this DVD for review purposes. Also, affiliate links are marked (*). 

Element: Daily Yoga* offers two yoga sessions–one designed for the morning and the other for elementthe evening–led by Mia Togo. As with other Element workouts, the scenery is lush and spa-like.

The morning session is 43 minutes. It starts with a breathing warm up. There are challenging standing postures, including one leg chair that flows into Warrior III. There is also core work done on the mat–including a difficult flow from boat pose to hollow man. The practice ends with shavasana. This practice also helps create space and flexibility. Togo says we “excavate tight places” with our breath.

The evening practice is 46 minutes and focuses on restoring range of motion and increasing flexibility. This session is not designed to be as challenging as the morning session; it’s supposed to be about relaxation. Togo claims that we shrink up to 3/4″ a day because of gravity. Posts such as the twists, dolphin, and triangle are designed to help. Shoulder stretches feel good and reduce the slump we get during the day. Togo encourages viewers to be like scientist and to not be attached to range of motion (in other words, don’t worry if you aren’t that flexible).

There is quite a bit of discussion about a connection between the practice of yoga and the betterment of life. Togo discusses how yoga can help us find flexibility in both body and mind, while creating clarity and helping us to adapt to life. Yoga can be healing. Togo says, “We are not broken.” Yoga can help us create lasting, sustainable change and help us share our gifts and our love with the world.

Overall, I think this is a great yoga DVD. The morning session is challenging, and the evening session promotes flexibility and relaxation. I appreciate the longer sessions, but I usually don’t have time for a 45-minute session in the morning and again in the evening on a “daily” basis.

Houston Museum of Natural Science — Shark!

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The Houston Museum of Natural Science has a temporary exhibit about sharks. It’s a $5 add-on to general admission. It is a rather small exhibit.

Sharks are endangered, and this exhibit is meant to inform about sharks and shark conservation. There are multiple shark touch tanks and displays. Trip loved being able to enter into a shark cage that had a video wall around it to simulate being in an ocean with sharks. There’s also information on OCEARCH, an organization that focuses on shark research, conservation, and public education. With education and outreach, we learn to respect the environment of the shark and the sharks themselves. Sharks aren’t as scary as movies might make them seem.

Well…sharks might still be a little scary.

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Shark! is on display until September 7, 2015.

Houston Zoo: Giant Armadillos & Scoop on Poop

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Last week, I attended a wildlife speaker at the Houston zoo. Dr. Arnaud Desbiez spoke about his work with Giant Armadillos in South America. One message of the evening…giant armadillos…yes the DO exist! But, not much information was known about them. Desbiez and the project crew work to study the giant armadillos and other local species. The giant armadillo can grow up to four feet long and weigh up to 110 pounds! Desbiez called these animals “ecosystem engineers” because they have the ability to adjust their habitat. The inside of their burrows remain a constant, comfortable 75º F even when outside temperatures are significantly warmer or cooler. Once the giant armadillo abandons the burrows, other species utilize them. Armadillos and other species are closely connected to each other and their environment. The giant armadillo is a threatened species. To find out more about the Pantanal Giant Armadillo Project, visit their website.

giantIt is Trip’s Spring Break. His first day off was rainy and cold, but that did not stop us from going to the Houston Zoo for awhile. (Actually it was kind of nice…no vacation crowds!)

We enjoyed “The Scoop on Poop” exhibit, which is on view until March 29. This exhibit was filled with “turd trivia” and hands-on activities.

Not all the animals were out because of the rain, but there were plenty out (and some who appeared to be enjoying it). And there’s lots of indoor exhibits as well.

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Element: Belly Dance Review

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I received a complimentary copy of this DVD for review purposes. Also, affiliate/associate links are marked (*).

Element: Belly Dance* includes three dance sessions led by Jacqui Lalita. Like other Belly DanceElement programs, the background scenery is lush and beautiful.

The first program, “Belly Dance Foundations,” is a 15-minute introduction to the moves used in the other workouts. There are classic belly dance moves like hip drops, umis, undulations, and the Basic Egyptian. If those terms make no sense, Lalita demonstrates each move. This session jumps right into the lesson. There is no warm up or cool down, and there is no music.

The second session is “Slow & Sensual Belly Dance Toning.” This 20-minute session focuses on belly dance moves that have toning benefits, like undulations and figure 8 hips. There is music in this session, and Lalita plays with tempo.

The third session is “Belly Dance Burn.” This is 20 minutes of very light cardio. There is also music in this session, including a drum solo. Lalita encourages some creativity, including a shimmy session during the drum solo. The key to shimmies, Lalita says, is to “let yourself relax.” In other words, have fun with it!

Lalita makes belly dance accessible, especially during the introduction session. She reminds viewers that it is okay if you don’t get it right away or if you feel stiff, saying “It’s supposed to be a challenge.”

This DVD is great if you are new to belly dance and want to try it in the privacy of your own home. It’s also good if you have some experience with belly dance and want a few short, easy practices to follow at home. Advanced dancers will not learn much from this program.

Element: Belly Dance* is available on Amazon. It is also available as a digital purchase or rental* on Amazon.

Super-Charged Kickbox Party Review

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I used to love Crunch at-home workouts. Still do.

I have been sorting through my fitness DVDs and thinking about which to post to SwapADVD or trade at Half Price Books. Leisa Hart’s Buns of Steel and Abs of Steel…time to go.

But I’m thinking Super-Charged Kickbox Party (2007) is still a keeper.

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As the name suggests, the workout is a mix of kickboxing and dance moves. It’s a moderate, 45-minute cardio workout. Dance workouts are sometimes a very light cardio workout with pauses to teach moves, and kickboxing workouts can be pretty intense. This workout falls somewhere between those extremes. There are kickboxing segments with some intensity added (i.e. adding jumps to kicks), and there are fun dance moves mixed right in.

It is comparable in style to Turbo Jam, but Super-Charged Kickbox Party is less intense with less impact.

The workout also has a good warm-up and cool down.

The workout is led by Jeanette Jenkins. She offers good cues and some modifications (like you don’t have to jump). During the workout, Jeannette encourages, “Don’t get lazy!”

Some moves may not be comfortable on carpet because of the pivots involved.

Jeanette Jenkins has more workout DVDs as “The Hollywood Trainer,” including two “Sexy Abs” workouts with Kelly Rowland.

Crunch now offers Crunch Live, a streaming service.

So many at-home workout options…so little time!